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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Free Jewelry Making Tutorial #1: Handmade Earwires

I have been wanting to start making my own earwires for quite some time, but it's been one of those projects that just keeps falling to the bottom of the pile. I finally carved out some time to do it, and I was so pleased with the results that I thought I would put together this free tutorial. I'm hoping it will be the first of many jewelry making tutorials that I will post here, but we'll see how things go - I'm not making any promises.

You will need:
  • round-nosed pliers
  • flat-nosed pliers
  • wire cutters
  • 20" of 20-gauge half-hard sterling silver wire (to make 10 earwires)
  • a Sharpie pen (fine point) or 1/2" wooden dowel
  • metal file (or a nail file will work) or deburring tool
  • silver polishing cloth
  •  metal hammer and block (optional)

1. Cut a 20" length of wire from your spool.


2. Begin to wrap the wire around the Sharpie pen (or dowel), holding it tightly against the pen/dowel.


3. Continue wrapping until all of the wire is coiled, keeping coils neat and tight.


4. Remove coil from pen/dowel; it will spring open a bit (mine ended up being about 11/16" in diameter after I took them off the pen).


5. Using your wire cutters, snip off one end to get rid of any part that isn't perfectly round.


6. Continue snipping the coils, one at a time, to produce ten circles. (You may end up with one more or less, but 20" of wire produced 10 earwires for me.)


7. File both ends of each wire section to remove any rough edges.


8. Grasp one end of the circle with your round-nosed pliers, near the end of the wire.

9. Turn the pliers towards the inside of the earwire to form a small loop.


10. Grasp the other end of the circle with your flat-nosed pliers and bend slightly outward.


11. Polish and, if you wish, hammer the earwires. (Mine are un-hammered.)

Some people make these with the loop turned to the outside, but I like the clean look of this version best (at least today). Feel free to experiment and develop your own style!

These earwires are easy to make and comfortable to wear, and they give a more modern, distinctive look to your designs than commercially produced earwires. I hope you find this tutorial useful; if you have any questions or comments, please let me know!


Robin Marie said...

I love my handmade earwires. I just started making them, and I'm never going to be able to use the store bought kind again!

I never thought to wrap them all around something first! Brilliant! I ball the ends of mine, but I could easily do that while they're circular, and it would save so much time and aggrivation getting matching pairs!

Thanks for the tip, you're the best:)

brandi said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this simple and beautiful technique

Monica Yvette said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I've been wondering how to make earwires.

Wan said...

Oh this looks fun! Thanks for sharing! I think I will practise with non-tarnish silver wire before purchasing 20 gauge sterling silver wire, because I know how I usually messes things up. :P


BetteJo said...

Ooooh! Thanks a bunch! I'm sure it's harder than you make it look but I AM gonna try it. So nice of you to share!

Nikole said...

This is wonderful - thanks for sharing it!

lmdavila said...

Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. I've been wanting to try to make my own ear wires but was not sure how to even get started. Your instructions are great and easy to follow and the pictures are great. Can't wait to try this!

Laurie said...

Awesome tutorial. It never occurred to me to use a nail file instead of a needle file. A very handy hint indeed!

Anonymous said...

Fanstatic tutorial! Merci beaucoup for sharing!

~ clementine

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for knwo we beaders need to stick together:)

liv said...

Thanks for posting this. I didn't think to wrap a bunch at once. Great idea!

pi-nanay-ni-noah said...

Many thanks for sharing your secret to making ear wires.....!!

Piston said...

Great technique. Simple is always best and I think that it enhances the jewelry the best too! Thanks for the time taken to share through photos and descriptions. You are a very generous designer and artist!

StripyPixieSocks said...


I have been struggling to find nice ear-wires for my jewellery that are a bit different to the norm.

I had a quick go last night and made some, messed with the basics and got something I really like and can make easily instead of settling for what I can buy!

Thankyou so much :)

Pamela said...

This is fabulous! Thank you so much! :)

Marika said...

Great tute! I'm using lately the same type of round earwires, but I'm using a jig to make them. Neat to see a version without a jig, gotta try it out!


Jenn said...

These are easy and beautiful, thank you. To return the favor, here's one of my "secrets": regular sharpie ink smears and is removable with alcohol; *industrial* sharpies are cleaner to use and closer to permanent.

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial, thank you :o) I have read on various sites to hammer the wire after making the kooks to strengthen them, some use a tumbler with small steel ball bearings in. Can you advise how best to do this?

MyRecordPurse said...

Thanks,,am just starting to attempt jewelry,,,So how cool to find your tutorial

beadinbythesea said...

So nice of you to share this easy-to-follow tutorial. I never thought about winding around a pen to get a consistent shape. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Though a sharpie is a cheap and brilliant way to do this, a ring mandrel would work in the same way and would allow you to get whatever size you wanted.

softouches said...

Thanks, great tutorial. I teach a class on ear wires and never thought of this technique!

californiablue said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for much for sharing

Fiona said...

That's so Cool!
Thank you for sharing!Much Appreciated!
I hope you continue with making tutorials and it would be good if you had a link for us to subscribe to your tutorials on jewellery.
I can't wait to try!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank You for the free tutorial. Love the hoop ear wires.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, I made these gorgeous earwires.